Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Read this book

If you like books written by smart people. Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, of Mission Street, were in Honolulu in September to talk about their book at indie Kaka'ako bookstore R&D. I didn't get to their book talk, but I did borrow the only copy of the book in the public library system.

It's the story of the son of immigrants. His parents wanted more for him than they had, and while he went to college and worked in market research for several years, he wasn't happy. He went on a trip around the world to experience different food and cultures. When he came back to America, he worked as a line cook, but he didn't forget his father gave food to the homeless. They were among the first to popularize food trucks and probably the first to do popups - dinners at established restaurants on their dark nights. And they admit social media was a big part of communicating who they were and are. Recipes? I would make the panna cotta and jicama pickles!

This is the book. This restaurant no longer exists, but they have a mini-empire that includes Mission Street Chinese in both SF and NYC. The NYC outpost, helmed by Danny Bowien, just won an Eater award. Commonwealth and Mission Street Bowling club are also part of the group.

While they were in the 808, Myint collaborated with Prima Kailua and Whole Ox Deli to do two popup dinners. I'll write about this on my other blog, Lives to Eat. Soon, I promise!

When we left that dinner, folks in line for the second seating asked us how it was. "Fabulous!" The best part is that Mission Street donated $10 from each dinner to GreenWheel Food Hub, an initiative to bring SNAP electronic food stamps to farmers' markets. In fact, they have started doing this at the Wahiawa market. So terrific!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not about books or libraries; for your maintenance

Observation #1: Although I'm the Manicured Librarian, I rarely write about health and beauty. There are too many other fun things to comment on!

Observation #2: The larger and more prominent your lips are, the more you need lip balm.

Even in a mild climate like Hawaii's, we need protection. When I'm out and about, I'm wearing lipstick or lipgloss. Or both. But when I'm at home, it's just lip balm. I thought I'd share my opinions of these because they work for me, and I've been using them for a while.

Here are my picks for keeping lips smooth and moist at home:

Day: Maybelline Baby Lips in Grape Vine or Cherry Me. These have taken the place of Fresh lip balms as my daytime favorites. They taste and smell good, will slightly tint your lips, and cost about $4 - less on sale. They are .15 oz., and there are other flavors.

Night: Pangea Ecocentric Lipcare in Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom. I'm usually neutral about lavender, but love the slight fragrance of this. Check out all the natural ingredients, too. They are very moisturizing, and the tubes last long as they are huge - .25 oz. There are two other flavors. The cost - $12 - will throw you off, but I did get mine on sale for 1/2 price.

By the way, those Fresh lip balms are $22.50 or more!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Joy of Living

in a condominium


We came home to find a puddle of water outside our kitchen window. Of course we checked to see if OUR plumbing was leaking, and NO, it isn't. Then we realized the water was dripping from the top of our window frame, which means it's coming from above, and it's inside the wall.

Yes, TWO DAYS LATER, it's still happening. I know for a fact that plumbers do work on weekends. From the building manager, we learned the occupants she contacted are renters; hopefully they've talked to the owner of their unit. Hopefully the owner isn't an absentee landlord. Meanwhile, the leaking goes on, all the way down to the parking lot.


In other news, the Topless Neighbor has been sighted. No, she wasn't topless. She was walking down the street, away from me. Wearing clothes.

Sign posted next to an apartment building: "PICK UP YOUR DOG POOP". The fact that you even have to put up such a sign speaks volumes, doesn't it?

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 2012 - What I'm Reading

Unbelievable, it's September already!

In keeping with my ongoing interest in food, I'm reading "Chew", a graphic novel with story by John Layman and art by Rob Guillory. The title will get your attention first, the art second and the story finally. But the story's a good one with reminders of "Soylent Green" but gone wa-yyy out of control.

Unfortunately, the library system has only the first volume, and there's only one in the entire system. Since 2009, 5 other volumes have been published. The DH has already finished reading it, and is wanting MORE. Any readers out there have these and willing to donate? My influence in this section goes only so far with our reduced budget for this fiscal year. Sad.

It may not seem like it, but I AM interested in other things! Style. Visual Design. Which is why I'm reading the Illustrated Elements of Style by Strunk, White and Kalman. I don't know about you, but I am definitely a visual person, and Kalman's images really bring these guidelines for clarity in writing to life. I need my own copy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

All's Quiet with the Manicured Librarian

Yes, it's been very slow here. That doesn't mean nothing's been happening - I just haven't deemed it ready to write about. However, here are some recent thoughts:

Rape   Aren't we all tired about this Akin/Ryan/Romney GOP debacle? Still, this - from jezebel.com - is one of the best articles I've read about how America has tried to legislate abortion by defining rape. Just let women make our own choices about our bodies.

Topless Neighbor   You read this post, and now you've come back looking for something new and tit-tillating, but there's nothing to tell. I haven't seen her, and to his great relief, neither has the DH.

New Neighbor   They are directly above us. I'd like to shoot them, as they get on the treadmill AT 7:30 AM ON SUNDAY! This is one of the few days I get to sleep in. Apparently, the treadmill comes with the apartment, because I've heard it through the last 3 occupants.

More to come, I just have to finalize it all in my mind!

In the mean time, you may want to take a look at my other blog, Soos Lives to Eat. After all, we all need to eat, at least twice a day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

July/August - What I'm Reading

It took me months to get a library copy of Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs. While many have talked about this book, I think School Library Journal's review did a good job of putting it in context, and explaining why teens should read it, too. I decided not to buy my own copy, and I'll nudge the debate about eBooks by saying that even though it's 600+ pages long, I can't imagine reading it on a device.

In an earlier post, I wrote about how smart people do dumb things. Well, Steve Jobs was that: creative, obnoxious AND a "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". Isaacson says that Jobs stood at that nexus between the humanities and science, the arts and technology. While he was always fascinated by electronics, he went to liberal arts Reed College. If he hadn't dropped out, he wouldn't have audited a calligraphy course which influenced the fonts (typefaces) in the first Macintosh, and those in all other computers. As an aside, Reed is one of the handful of schools I considered applying to.

I'm also reading "Darth Paper Strikes Back" the sequel to "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" by Tom Angleberger, about folded paper and middle school. Why? It's fun!

And I'm reading "Runny Babbit" by Shel Silverstein, because the next storytime is August 18th, National Bad Poetry Day. Writing bad poetry, I've discovered, is very hard. So we'll concentrate on rhyming words, visual rhymes, Spoonerisms and the creative process. And I love to tickle children's minds!

Read this: Anil Gupta and his search for innovation - I love this! There is creativity and invention everywhere. Now, if only they could find innovaton for their power needs.

See? In my universe, it's all related, circular - comes back around!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hilo Getaway

After six hectic weeks of the summer reading program, presentations and craft sessions, it was wonderful to get away for a few days.

It had been 6 years since I'd been to Hilo on my way to a conference in Kohala, and 2 years since the DH had been there with family for a reunion. It may be true that the weather there may be changing - aside from the usual, expected, morning, afternoon and occasional evening shower, there was only one day when we experienced a strange, Kamuela-like whiteout while we ate lunch.

How did we spend our days? We walked the streets of Hilo, stopping where storefronts caught our attention. Some of us played with flags.

We spent a day in Kamuela: had stew luau at Hawaiian Style Cafe, read, drank coffee at Waimea Coffee Company, had dinner at Merriman's, where they treated us to a glass of anniversary champagne and dessert!

We hung with the DH's cousin, and everywhere we went with her, she knew someone, and stopped to share a word. In our opinion, she's the Queen of Hilo, our official food consultant, and tells us she is the first to respond when someone passes away or is in the hospital! The last time, DH came home with ten pounds of rambutan; this time, we brought back opihi (still very much alive!), frozen lychee, homemade Portuguese sausage and more. 

We hadn't stayed at Hilo Seaside in years. From the outside, it doesn't look promising, but it gets better once you step in the door. I can't say enough about the staff: from Diana at the front desk, who looked at my large suitcase and kindly asked if I could make it to the second floor. (Thank you, I couldn't, as I had just wrenched my knee; still recovering.) To the honest maid who found my watch outside our room - I only realized this the next morning!

Opihi photo courtesy of Rad Kanda

We flew back to Honolulu and reality, shared opihi with relatives and friends, and spent a lovely Bastille Day evening in the country, at a cheese dinner at the only dairy left on Oahu. More here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Update: I Saw What You Did

The fruit thief was spotted in the hood.

First, soon after the incident, then two nights ago. The DH recognized her by her distinctive strut. She had a haircut and a flashlight. Which reminds me I should resume my quest for a bigger flashlight.

So, is her flashlight ready for if/when mine shines on her thieving ways?

@FreeRangeNan goes as far as saying this woman is a sociopath, and those don't care what others think, much less their mothers. Or fathers, on this Fathers Day 2012.

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's been a Movie Month

And I love it! Yesterday, the bff and I got together to celebrate our April birthdays. I know, horribly belated. We went to see Dark Shadows, and if I'd known the soundtrack was full of 70s songs like Nights in White Satin and Season of the Witch, we woulda dragged the DH along! I cracked up when the credits rolled, and the song played was Eric Carmen's Go All the Way - I called him so he could hear it!

The movie itself was too long and there was much too much Angelique. Michelle Pfeiffer is stiff as the Collins matriarch. Johnny Depp here is a bit of a grownup Edward Scissorhands! I did laugh, but the bff said she fell asleep a coupla times. She def needs to caffeinate! We hit Nordstrom Rack & the new TJMaxx - both forgettable - and had a late lunch of gravlax and grilled chicken.

Two weekends ago, we saw Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The chefs are right, it's both inspiring and daunting. About passion, obsession, craft, aspiring to be shokunin. See it! My only question: does Yoshikazu dream of sushi or of fast cars?

Before that, we saw Boy by Taika Waititi. I love most the movies which show me different lives, cultures, ways of thinking. This movie is about a small village in New Zealand in the 1980s. Funny, charming, with heart. I recommend it.

There are movies the bff and I don't agree on. She wants to see The Road, the horror movie from the Philippines. Not for me! She also wants to see Prometheus - so do I! It's Ridley Scott!!! LOVE Blade Runner! That's our movie pick for next month!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Saw What You Did

This qualifies as a bad neighbor post, and two out of three of the following incidents are definitely about bad neighbors, the other - the person is probably from somewhere else.

Friday night started well, We had a quick and pleasant dinner out, then stopped by both the drugstore and the market to pick up necessities. We came home pretty early, only to find an oversized SUV in the MIDDLE of our area of the parking lot.

We waited. The driver's door was open. NO response. The DH tapped the horn (and he NEVER does this!) We gestured. NOTHING. I yelled MOVE IT! Zero response. I yelled louder, "WHAT'S THE PROBLEM???"

FINALLY the driver gets out and tells us she can't start her car "because the battery is wet". OK, then - we were supposed to guess or read your mind about what's going on? How about towing your useless vehicle so you can stop inconveniencing SIX of us who need to park where it's blocking the way? We got no lucid answer, so the DH did a tricky move and edged past the post and the big dead hunk of metal. Nor was there "I'm sorry" in this exchange. More like: "Poor me!"

Out of earshot, I asked: "WHO is that?" DH: "She lives upstairs." Oh. The one clacking her heels at 4 am. The one playing bad music, the crowd singing along at 2 am. I should have known.

Do you know what bachi is? The DH went for a walk, came home, and 2 to 3 hours later, she was STILL sitting in that SUV!

The night before that, we walked down a busy street and saw a van parked in front of a large mango tree.
A person with a fruit picker pole was busy "harvesting" - STEALING. How do I know? It was NIGHT and dark, but I SAW YOU and what you did! But I don't say anything to someone with a long metal stick! You know who you are.

Look out, too, for the two on bicycles. The first has a regular looking bike; the giveaway is the pole tied to the side. The second has a dark bike (stealth model?) Both have bags and baskets tied. I saw the first ride up someone's driveway - trespassing! - but I was on my way somewhere. The second went to the gate and yelled, "Anybody home?" But he saw us across the street, walking slowly and observing.

Last night, almost a year to the day, WE SAW WHAT YOU DID. And this year, you did it again. Yes, you 30s to 40s female with wavy wedge cut hair, wearing long pants and dark brown jacket with white collar lining with large pockets! You:
- Jumped on the wall and picked the fruit
- Jumped INTO the yard - TRESPASSING - picked more fruit. By this time I had the flashlight out.
I guess your pockets were full with 8 or more large fruits. You had to go home and unload but you CAME BACK. You checked and there were still no cars in the driveway. You jumped back on the wall as I shined my light and said, I CAN SEE YOU. You picked a couple and even jumped to reach more, then you jumped back in the yard - TRESPASSING AGAIN. By this time my light was strobing and you stood still to watch me. You only got half as much and will have to bring a stool next time!  My night vision isn't great, but it's good enough, even on a moonless night.You turned around and glared at me when I called out your Asian ethnic group and said I was getting a bigger flashlight. If you're THAT blatant in your thievery, I can call the play by play! I SAW WHAT YOU DID! Let's see you do that in daylight!

As we walked home, the DH asked, should we follow her? NO, I'm not 5-O! I'm just an observer/commentator on bad neighbors! Where do you think she lives? he asked. Probably the biggest condo in the neighborhood. What she saves on in fruit, she can spend in rent!

Apparently, there is no end to bad behavior by bad neighbors! So, are these folks selling what they steal, or are they just pigs taking their neighbors' bounty?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New in the Neighborhood

The fairy terns have a baby. Or two. It's hard to tell, as they move around, are up high, and we don't want to bother them TOO much with flashlight beams. I love to watch them wheel overhead in their aeronautical patterns - singly, in pairs, in trios.

A check of the chickens reveals there are now THREE of them, the two new ones ~almost~ as fat and sassy as the first. But they can't beat the original one for loud complaining!

This post is for the birds!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kenny Endo & Part Four: My Husband Looks Like Someone Else

No, my husband does not look like Kenny Endo. The Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble was presented by the Young Adult section at Hawaii State Library this past Saturday for a performance as part of National Library Week. This was an energetic, 45-minute taiko drumming set, and we had over a hundred attendees - you should have joined us!

We only found out that my husband - who was taking photos - Looks Like Someone Else when one of the taiko ensemble members asked to take a photo with the husband. He looked at her in surprise, and she rather shyly said, "Because you look just like my father!" The husband did not know whether to be embarrassed or shocked! Now I'd like to know what the father looks like!

For the other blogposts on the DH Looks Like Someone Else, check here, here and here.

For another great library program, please have your teen children, neighbors, relatives come to Hawaii State Library on Saturday, April 28th at noon for an informative program on the ABCs of credit by Rodney Kimo Wong from Bank of Hawaii. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Topless Neighbor

Yes, really!

Since I'm occasionally awake at 2 am in the morning, I get to enjoy the neighbors above us, who are playing bad (OK, may not be bad, just not to my taste) music. I am not quite WIDE awake, but I can hear they are partying. Last night there was some kind of hammering of metal on metal going on at 1 am. And I can often hear high heels clacking down the hallway.

Ah, the joys of condo living!

No, I have not seen the neighbor topless. Or bottomless, for that matter.

The DH has. One afternoon he came back from taking a cigar for a walk, when he happened to glance up at the stairs. The neighbor who has a cab driver pick her up was casually sitting at the top of the stairs of the top floor.

Completely nekkid on top.

Poor DH does not want to be in the same elevator with her. He was driving up our street when he saw her coming up the sidewalk, and was visibly shaken. He calls her the "Weirdo".

I've never seen ANY of our neighbors naked.

Except the Complaining Chicken.

Even Rosie the Maltese wore clothes!

Previous  Post About Bad Neighbors

Monday, April 2, 2012

I hate VOG

I didn't check out whether it was out and lingering today, but the damage was already done from the previous days.

What is vog? Volcanic smog. Particulates in the air too numerous to list. One of them is sulphur.

Before I knew any better, I visited Volcanoes National Park on the island of Hawaii. They have these sulphur pits - cracks in the earth where the fumes seep out. The closer I got, the harder it was to breathe.

What's the solution to the effects of vog? Use the 2 inhalers. Stay in rooms with a/c. Take allergy medication.

And hope for tradewinds.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Hate March

No, I take that back.

I hate tax time.

For not only do I have to worry about having all my necessary tax paperwork for DH and myself, I have to be sure to have those for our son. I know, maybe you don't do that for your adult kid, but I do. It's how I roll.

PLUS for the past couple of years, I've been doing that for my mother. Believe me, her taxes are still more complicated than ours AND son's put together.

Sudden updates:

I was wrong. Son's taxes (Minnesota) turned out to be much more complicated than ours and mom's put together. That's the bad part. The good part is he'll get THOUSANDS back. I still hate March.

I also hate March because there's been dying going on. My dad's sister called and said her younger (and last remaining) brother died suddenly today. I hadn't seen him in several years. She said he'd been telling folks he was ready to go. He was the black sheep. Not sure he was estranged from all of his children, but at least some of them.

I've been putting it off, but there's other news. The bad news is that Rosie passed away earlier this month. The good news is that there's a new Maltese puppy in the neighborhood!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Complaining Chicken

At the end of last year - we heard some new noise in our neighborhood.

For a pretty urban burb of Honolulu, we have quite a wide array of wildlife.

The noisemakers were the two new hens - big, beautiful Rhode Island Reds - across the way. But some time early this year, there was suddenly only one. I've been listening for the remaining one, which can sometimes be heard exclaiming loudly - hence the Complaining name - and even squawking the chicken equivalent of bloody murder.

The chicken owners have a nice big yard the chicken can strut around in, but they also have a nice big grill and big parties with beverages and (I assume) food. So, at those times when it's much too quiet, I can be heard exclaiming loudly, "Where's the cheecken?" wondering if it's headed for the grill. And the DH will humor me and listen until he can reassure me it's STILL complaining

So I wasn't surprised when I read in Honolulu Magazine that Asagi Hatchery is the "Best Place to Pick Up Chicks". Yes, people want to know where their food came from, including eggs and chickens. I remember my own grandmother picking out a chicken, chopping its head off and having to run after it when it struggled free. And the plucking that followed.

Of course, the Complaining Chicken may well be complaining over the loss of her companion. And yes, the Complaining Chicken reminds me of a children's book: The Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What I'm Reading - March

Part of my job is to read book reviews in order to decide whether I should buy the books and ebooks. I borrowed the children's book, Earwig and the Witch by Diana Wynne Jones, based on editorial reviews from children's and young adult journals. This was disappointing. While I liked Paul O. Zelinsky's drawings, the story was one of those that raced to the finish, and took a lot of shortcuts to do so. Strange, by the way, that the Kindle version seems to have different (and less charming) illustrations.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness has a much better resolved story. This young adult book contains very dark themes: nightmares, nightmarish reality, mother with cancer, acting out, bullying at school. It was very realistic and the excellent illustrations by Jim Kay add to the foreboding tone of the book. The story is based on one from Siobhan Dowd, who herself succumbed to cancer. I recommend it. But then, I do like dark themes in books and films. You're warned!

The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein. I've only been twittering since late last year.

Confession time: I only signed up for Twitter because I wanted to track the food trucks so I could get a break from home lunches!

Back on topic: the only thing I got out of the Twitter Book was you should avoid starting a tweet with an @ address unless you only want that recipient to get it. Thanks for that. Everything else I learned about Twitter was on my own! Not that I know it all; and I sometimes fail. Hey - those icons on my Droid touchscreen are often too small for my fingers!

The Pot and How to Use It: The Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker by Roger Ebert. I'm still reading this, but something tells me I won't find a recipe in it that I'll have to make. I am enjoying his writing; here's a sample from Chapter 6, page 21: "There are countless rice cooker cookbooks. We don't want no stinking cookbooks." So I guess this is more of a guidebook. And it's with relief that I read I didn't have to buy a thousand-dollar rice cooker with memory and fuzzy logic. I can use my basic 8-cup model with two functions: Cook and Warm!.

Ebert has opinions on everything, from hot sauce to oatmeal. About the microwave variety, he says it's a "dangerous travesty of the healthy food it pretends to be" and full of fat, salt and oils: "You can die of a heart attack during a perfect bowel movement."

Well, maybe he has the right to write that, as he has the cojones to write a (sort of) cookbook when he can't eat. (Health issues.) 

As soon as I've written it, I'll add a link to my new blogpost about what I just cooked in my rice cooker - it'll be on my other blog.

But for now, I'm off to the Blaisdell Farmers' Market - to get my fresh local veggies, and to eat1

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Art @ the Capitol

Confession time:

I've avoided First Friday in downtown Honolulu for at least five years. Why?

  • Too many people
  • Too little parking
  • Drunken people looking for freebies
  • Too hard to see the art and entertainment

But I convinced the DH we should go because the legislators AND the governor and lieutenant governor opened their offices to the public from 5 pm to 7 pm this past Friday, March 2nd.

He was my reluctant companion, but he perked up considerably when he saw the quality and variety of artwork displayed in the offices. A free cup of coffee and some great chamber music by young musicians helped, too.

In Hawaii, one percent of the cost of a new state building goes toward art, per the Art in State Buildings law - the first of its kind in the nation. Works are commissioned and this is overseen by the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture & the Arts.

What most people don't know is that there is competition for art between the legislators "for what is available", as a staffer said. Even the gov and lt. gov have picked their own artwork for their offices and reception areas.

Something that impressed us was the variety of taste displayed: from Rep. Karl Rhoads (D) Dist. 28 - restrained and mostly monochromatic prints, to Rep. Henry Aquino (D) Dist. 35 - with more than one painting of sugar mills, to Rep. Tom Brower (D) Dist. 23, whose entire office was full of Mondrian wall cover, primary colors, chrome, Plexiglas and a construction zone desk. Let's not forget Rep. Mark Hashem (D) Dist. 18 who has decorated his office with his own choice of kimono and samurai sword replicas, in addition to prints and watercolors.

OK, we did visit offices of Rep. Gen Ward (R) Dist. 17, who did ask us if we're constituents (we're not). He had artist Kahi Ching talk about the coconut wood sculpture in his office. We also popped into the office of Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R) Dist. 19, where the DH was reluctant to go in until he recognized one of her staff.

Senate President Shan Tsutsui's - (D) Sen. Dist. 4 - reception and office areas wowed us. Let's just say there are FIVE Tadashi Sato works, TWO Toshiko Takaezu ceramics, and MORE. There are too many others we saw to mention them all. We have been to other offices during the legislative session, but have not gotten past reception. This was a unique opportunity to see even the senators' and representatives' private offices.

We spoke at some length with Rep. Mark Takai (D) Dist. 34 and Sen. Brian Taniguchi (D) Sen. Dist. 10, who kindly ushered us in, even though it was after 7 pm and his staffers were starving! Art @ the Capitol was his idea, 4 years ago. As staffers reminded us, "this is YOUR art". And it is.

Here's a video - there are six in all - of Sen. Taniguchi talking about one of the artworks in his office. He asked where we'd heard about Art @ the Capitol. I said I'd seen something about it online. Later, I recalled reading about it in MidWeek. Later still, I remembered a retweet from @jayparasco from @hihousedems . Would've been good if @hawaiisenate had tweeted the event, too!

Mahalo to the legislators who took the time to talk to us, and to show us their favorite paintings, photographs and sculptures. Most of all, thank you to the staffers who greeted us warmly and invited us in.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Don't Come to the Library, Part Four of WTDTYiLS

Don't come to the library for a play date. The library is NOT a playground. It's not meant for playing chase master, throwing balls and toys (including the stuffed toys who live quietly in the Children's Section), drinking apple juice (and if you asked me I would tell you that's full of sugar) and blowing soap bubbles. And why are the ADULTS taking the lead with the latter two?

If your children don't or won't behave, don't bring them to the library. It would be a kindness to the rest of us, patrons and staff alike, because we have to listen to them misbehave, cry and this is a pretty good sign they don't want to be there.

Don't come to the library if you think you are special and you're exempt from the rules and are unable to follow them! Under my theory of control, there would be NO RULES if everyone behaved using common sense and thought about how their actions affect others.

So, DON'T tell your fellow browsers which books they should read and give them the plot summary of a whole list of books YOU think is required reading. Eventually, they get defensive and do the same to YOU, so eventually you'll have no fellow patrons to discuss with, and you may even turn to ~shudder~ me.

I never tell patrons what to read. I rarely read what other librarians suggest. My choices vary too much, and the writing needs to be as good as the story is compelling. The premise of readers' advisory is that the reader comes to you for advice, not that you just give it!

Don't come to the library if you expect the Internet connection on the computers to be consistent and fast. Sorry, they are consistently slow. If they happen to be fast, that is an anomaly and probably won't happen again. I said, the fact that they are fast, THAT is an ANOMALY. And don't expect the situation to improve with getting more computers. More computers just means more of a load on the Internet pipe!

And don't tell me you think hackers are keeping you from emailing the entire text of a news article to your 20 closest friends when you're sending them ONE at a TIME. I suggested that you send the link instead, but since I don't want to talk to you about hackers, you'll need to figure out bcc on your own! And if you ARE a diplomat, why do you spend so much time watching music videos?

Don't come to the library if you think your neighbors have implanted an RFID chip in you, because I'm pretty sure we can't help you. Even the science and tech section probably can't, and they know more about that stuff than I do!

Yes, this has been Part Four of What They Don't Teach You in Library School and I have personally experienced all of the above.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Monday, February 13, 2012

Another Recurring Dream/Nightmare

Proof that life/reading/anxieties all influence my unconscious!

I don't remember details; I do remember I was on a trip and staying in a room with two other people I didn't know at all. My luggage was searched and it was discovered that I had a device of some kind that was contraband. The travel part is recurring, and at its most benign, the dream is that I haven't packed comfortable shoes or enough clothing!

In the most recent nightmare, we were in China, and closely watched. Don't know how or if I got out of that situation!

But, here's evidence my reading does affect my dreams/nightmares.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February Reading: Dreams of Joy, Yuck: A Love Story, more

On the advice of one of the DH's cigar-smoking friends, I borrowed Lisa See's Dreams of Joy from the library. The DH read it first, in record time - about a week. When I started reading, I was dismayed to see how DUMB the heroine was, and was not sure I wanted to continue, as I could already predict her fate.

Side note: the cigar friend now has an iPad, reads all the time, and has discovered he can download eBooks via Overdrive, from the Hawaii State Public Library System. He's a convert and an evangelist, and is therefore apparently spending less time on his vices. Which we won't go into here!

The story is set in China in the 1950's, when the whiplash 180 degree turnarounds in Mao Zedong's policies have already sent intellectuals to the countryside for re-education, and the Great Leap Forward has begun. The main character, Joy, goes to China to see her ideals realized, and to find her father.

While the book was well-written, there were improbable turns of events and circumstances, and you could see where Joy's views were so unrealistic that she was headed for disaster. So, I'll recommend this, but with those caveats. And I've borrowed the previous book, Shanghai Girls.

In this month of love and roses, I'm reading this book to the children who come to the library: Yuck: A Love Story, by Don Gillmor. Even at a young age, guys (like our hero) do dumb things to attract the attention of their objects of affection. Read this! It's FUN! For ages 6 to 106.

I'm also reading Guys Read: Thriller, edited by Jon Scieszka - a collection of short stories by authors such as MT Anderson, Matt de la Pena, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Dean Myers, Maragaret Peterson Haddix, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Gennifer Choldenko, Bruce Hale, James Patterson and Patrick Carman. I'm sure you'll recognize some names there, but check out some of the others!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreams or Nightmares?

When I was young, I had a recurring dream where I was walking to school and discovered I was wearing only my pajamas. As I grew older, I flew in my recurring dreams. Of course, someone or something was chasing me, and the altitude I gained by flying gave me the advantage of perspective.

In recent years, my recurring dream is that I'm in someone else's apartment. I don't know how I got there, but I need to get out without waking anyone.

I've been sick at home with a chest cold (made worse by this stinking VOG!) for a day and a half, so I've been logging in more hours of sleep than usual. The result is VIVID dream/nightmares:

In the first, I'm looking at my cellphone when it goes NUTS. Instead of the usual GUI (graphical user interface), my phone is running code. And I mean SCROLLING madly by itself, without my touching it. To add insult to injury, the top half of it opens up to show the guts of the thing.

I had no idea I was so neurotic about my phone!

In the second dream, my girlfriend and I are celebrating our birthdays together at a small restaurant. It looks like some place I've been to in Moiliili or Kaimuki. I set my things down on a table, but when I return, the table is gone (moved) and my things are on a table for one with no room for my girlfriend. I go to the next room, where I find my table in a setup for a banquet. When my girlfriend shows up, she bursts into tears. (She really isn't that sensitive!) The dream turns nightmarish and devolves into evil restaurant workers and a greasy garage.

I'm sure there's an explanation for the above nightmare, but I truly can't think of what it might be!

Do you have such nightmares? Do you dream in color? Do you eat in those dreams?

(All of the latter tell you what's important in my own dreams!)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Even the Smartest of Us Can do Dumb Things

Yes, we often think we won't, but we do. The thing is not to dwell on mistakes, or look back. Or regret.

IMUA! (Hawaiian word meaning onward, forward!)

Please read this article from Booklist, the American Library Association review magazine that comes in both print and online form. It's about the dichotomy who was Apple's Steve Jobs. The author, Will Manley, starts off by writing about how people are remembered, and eulogized.

Which ties in with the memorial service for my uncle, which was part of this post. I knew he was a good man - he was the consummate gentleman, who always made you feel comfortable talking to him. But I didn't know just how hard-working and charitable he was. A coworker mentioned another memorial service, for someone they thought was a bum, but turned out to have been a WWII vet and had a respectable job.

In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs - there are 288 requests for this book in my public library catalog. And 47 copies! Isaacson, according to Manley, says Steve Jobs was both creative genius and idea thief. Loving husband and deadbeat dad. Buddhist and cutthroat materialist. Whew!

Finally, Manley says "instead of having an operation that would probably have eradicated the cancer for good, Jobs decided that he would try any number of alternative health remedies to heal himself" - choosing quackery over established medical procedures. And thereby shortening his life. Manley says we should read pp. 452-456, librarians or not. I'm heading to the bookstore!

We have more to learn from Jobs' death than his life, Manley says. But I say, BOTH can teach us something.

This is how my mind works: garbage or good, I take it in. It ferments and somehow I see connections in new things that I read or absorb. I'm not a techie, but I do get report alerts from ZDNet. This one talks about Apple sabotaging the EPUB standard for digital books, by deliberately locking out that standard from iBooks 2.0. Is this a continuation of the cutthroat materialism of Steve Jobs? Is this part of his ultimate corporate legacy?

I don't know about anyone else, but I have NOT fallen for the siren lure of iAnything, which locks you into All Apple, All the Time. I suppose I should look over my shoulder, as Jobs vowed to DESTROY Google for stealing technology for its Android OS.

And how will YOU be remembered?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Your children can surprise you

Well, ours did today. I'd forgotten that he wanted to visit his grandmother's niche before he returns to school. So he and his father picked up some flowers and went to visit the columbarium.

It's funny how you never use a word like that until you have to deal with it. I never knew how to spell cemetery, either until we went on a tour of  them and battlefields in Europe.

On Saturday, we went early to my uncle R's memorial service - his daughter, my cousin L - rightly called it a celebration of his life. We were really not much help, as her friends had it under control. We did pass out a few programs, and mostly caught up with our mother's relatives.

Mom is estranged from her brothers, so we hadn't seen my uncle J on that side, and my cousin J, the daughter of my other uncle W, in years. WE are not estranged, and I do see cousin J's mother at the mall, and downtown from time to time.

Back to my father's side of the family. There is only one uncle left, and he is estranged from the family. He was not at the service.

Cousin L has gone through a lot, and was very close to her father. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's, the frozen type, a year ago, but we didn't know this. He was in and out of the hospital, and passed away one day after he entered the hospice. As with so many people who fall ill and face the end of their lives, he and his family turned to religion and found a comforting minister.

I made it a point to call my cousin L as soon as I learned uncle R had passed away. From the way she spoke, I knew her sisters had not shared the responsibility. One sister lives in another state. The one who is here...

Let's just say that she arrived just as the service started, and was dressed as if for an art exhibit reception - in a black leather coat, stockings and designer boots. In Hawaii, one of the reasons the funeral notice states: "Casual Attire" is that it's 80 degrees in the middle of the day. Most women wore short-sleeved dresses or tops with slacks. Men wore polo shirts or aloha shirts. My cousin E wore his hair in a bun. (Getting more and more eccentric... though he did wear a striking white shirt with black print.)

Yes, I'm off topic.

Cousin L put together a lovely video presentation telling the story of her father's life. All of our family complimented her on it, and we look forward to getting a copy of it. "No rush!" I told her. "It must have been cathartic to do this."

"No," she said, "I was stressed out. I cried for days" Oh, dear. I can just see her saying to her sisters, "We must do this, this, and this." I saw her everywhere at the service, while one sister sat with her husband, and the other talked with guests. I can see the sisters saying, "No need to do this, this, and this!"

The day after the service, I came home to find a voicemail message from her. I called her back and said I didn't expect to hear back from her. But a few hours later, I did. She thanked us when we did so little, except to be supportive. I told her she should call me even if all she wanted to do was talk. At the end of our conversation, she told me I should call her if I ever needed anything, for any reason. At the end of the video, there are credits, and our family's names are first: my husband's, son's and mine.

I do not feel worthy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More January Reading

I'm a children's/young adult librarian. So, yes, I read children's books. But here are two that even adults will like:

Drawing from Memory by Allan Say. A memoir from the award-winning children's author/illustrator. Why is it that in so many of the books and articles I've read recently, the children are abandoned at a tender age by their parents - who are divorcing or going through some other crisis - and left to their own devices? That these children choose their own destinies and overcome so much is a testament to their strength, and their survival skills. Allan Say approaches the cartoonist he admires and becomes his apprentice. The book illustrates his life in Japan, and the forces which shape his success. Read it!

Award-winning llustrator Ed Young could not have had a more different childhood than Allan Say. In The House that Baba Built, he was surrounded by loving family, and encouraged to be creative. This memoir recreates - through photos and drawings - his childhood home and memories.

The events of our childhood shape the adults we become. In my own observation, we either follow our parents' direction or run far from it!

Read the books, and enjoy the illustrations.

Tell me about the books you're reading, as well as those that have influenced you.

Have you realized your parents' expectations, or have you traveled very different roads?

Friday, January 6, 2012

January: what I'm reading, have read

I'm trying to finish "Just My Type" by Simon Garfield. Unless you're in the graphic design field, or font-obsessed, this will be TMI about typefaces and their histories.

But this book has reminded me of my own BFA studies in this area - too long ago! I didn't have to look up any of the terminology, so I guess the larning stuck!

My takeaway? Steve Jobs and Apple and its designers - of fonts, too! - changed the dry type selection of the PC world by introducing a choice of new typefaces. But, like weaponry and prescription drugs, these can be used for evil or good.

Tell me what your favorite typeface is - and why - and I'll tell you mine.

I'm exaggerating! Lets just say they can be used well or poorly.

I'm reading "Blood, Bones & Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton. Rather, I'm wading through the Bathos, Blather & Blithe skipping over transitions so that you wonder how she got from point A to point B. I'm not sure I'll finish it. There has to be some good food talk, cooking and eating coming up, or I'm.giving.up.

And I rarely do give up on a book. Can all those celebuChefs - Batali, Bourdain, et al - be wrong in their gushing praise/hype?

Maybe. Stay tuned.

Tell me what you're reading!